17 Protein-Rich Foods to Boost Protein Intake


According to the Harvard School of Public Health, there are over 10,000 proteins in the human body. These tiny and complex molecules are vital to the human body’s functioning. Hair, bones, muscles, skin, eyes, lungs, you name it, every body part has protein in it. Hemoglobin, responsible for carrying oxygen in blood, is also a protein.

What are Proteins?

Proteins are made from amino acids. There are 20 amino acids required for protein formation. Humans can make 11 out of them. The other 9, also known as essential amino acids, must come from your diet.

Human’s inability to store proteins makes it critical to ensure that you consume a protein-rich diet. Protein deficiency can lead to serious health issues in the long run. 

How much protein do you need daily?

The rule is simple. You need 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of your body weight or 0.36 grams per pound. However, these values can change depending on your lifestyle, physical activity, and whether you want to increase muscle mass. Also, pregnant people need more proteins, around 60 grams daily, but don’t forget to discuss this with your doctor.   

17 Protein-Rich Foods for Healthy Living

List of Protein-Rich Foods for Healthy Living

Chicken Breast

The king of lean sources of protein. You’ll find it in almost all chicken recipes. A 100-gram skinless breast contains nearly 23 grams of protein. If you want to increase your protein intake, prefer chicken breast when you go meat shopping next time. The best thing about chicken breast is that it is cheap and commonly available.


How can we forget eggs after discussing chickens? Although eggs don’t contain as much protein as chicken or beef but they do have enough. A 1 large egg contains around 6 grams of protein. So, eggs can be your best friend if you are a vegetarian.

The best thing about eggs is that they are easy and quick to cook. Anyone can make them. You can even cook eggs in a sandwich maker, oven or simply boil them in water. Eggs are a staple in many recipes as well.


Beef is also a protein-rich meat. Offering up to 22 grams in an 85-gram serving, beef is the go-to option to boost protein intake.

However, you may want to skip beef if you are avoiding saturated fats in your diet. The beef burger you see with a 100-gram patty inside is loaded with too much fat. Make sure you select lean beef to limit fat intake.    


Who doesn’t love a tasty protein-rich salmon delight? A salmon meal is satisfying and fulfilling. A standard-size salmon fillet (178 grams) contains about 39.3 grams of protein. Salmon also contains a handful of Omega-3 fatty acids. 


Tuna is a culinary delight loved all over the world. You can have fresh tuna or go for canned tuna. A can of tuna (107 grams) provides 20-22 grams of protein. Canned tuna can be enjoyed in salads, sandwiches, and snacks.  


A white fish, which is loaded with protein, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins and minerals. A 150-gram fillet of halibut contains just about 29 grams of proteins. However, there are concerns about mercury and purines in Halibut. But, it is recommended safe for human consumption.   


Pollock is a fish to savor. A 100-gram serving contains up to 19 grams of proteins. Low cholesterol levels are best for people at the risk of coronary heart diseases.


A 100-gram serving of cod fish contains about 18 grams of proteins. Some food enthusiasts rate cod above salmon because it has lower calories and saturated fat content.


You’ll definitely make turkey a regular on your dinner table after hearing this. An 85-gram serving of cooked turkey breast supplies around 26 grams of protein. Apart from proteins, turkey also contains choline, vitamins, and minerals. Above all, it is extremely tasty.  


When did you have a full glass of milk? If the answer is not this morning or a few hours ago, your answer is not right unless you are lactose intolerant. A 250-gram serving of milk provides 8 grams of protein. Milk is also rich in calcium, minerals, and vitamins. 

Greek Yogurt

It is a creamy and rich delight. Greek yogurt provides around 20 grams of protein per 7-ounce serving. You’ll love Greek yogurt, not only for its taste but also for its nutritional value. Moreover, Greek yogurt is also rich in calcium and B vitamins.


Almost all cheese varieties come packed with a protein punch. Hard cheeses contain around 8 grams of protein in a piece of a thumb’s size. Cottage cheese is known to be the most protein-friendly snack in the world of cheeses. A 100-gram serving of cottage cheese delivers around 12 grams of protein.


A vegan and vegetarian-friendly protein source. It contains around 8 grams of protein in a cooked cup. Quinoa provides the 9 essential amino acids that humans require from external sources.   


Tempeh, commonly known as vegan meat, is another rich source of protein. You get around 20 grams of protein from a 3-ounce serving. It is loaded with probiotics and vitamin B12. Tempeh is also a complete source of protein, providing all of the nine essential amino acids.

Garbanzo Beans – Chickpeas

They are pretty much the same thing. You decide what you like to call them. These little beans are commonly used in many recipes around the world. A cooked cup of garbanzo beans or chickpeas has 15 grams of protein. That’s even better than cheese.


Lentils are also a vegan-friendly source of protein. A cooked cup packs around 18 grams of protein. Lentils are of different types and can be cooked in different forms. Some people enjoy them with rice, while some savor soupy lentils.

Veggies and Fruits

Some vegetables are rich in protein. Peas, spinach, artichoke, sweet corn, avocado, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, mushrooms, and kale are the best vegetables for a protein boost. Consider having these boiled or fresh with your meat as a tasty side.

Fruits are no less than veggies when it comes to protein. Some protein-rich fruits include guava, jackfruit, apricot, kiwi, blackberries, bananas, raisins, grapefruit, and oranges.

High-Protein Food Options for Vegans and Vegetarians

Vegans and vegetarians eat plant-based diets. Vegetarians are okay with eggs, milk, and honey, but vegans religiously stay away from these items. Strict vegans don’t even eat almonds because of honey bee exploitation during farming. Considering this, it becomes challenging for vegans and vegetarians to fulfill their protein needs from only plant-based sources. 

But there are still a lot of options for vegetarians and vegans. Vegetarians can consume eggs, Greek yogurt, milk, and cheese. In comparison, vegans can have foods like black beans, lima beans, broccoli, cauliflower, and oats. Moreover, tempeh, spirulina, guava, peas, and Chinese cabbage are safe protein sources for vegans.

Protein supplements can be an excellent protein source for both vegans and vegetarians. However, you must check the ingredients before eating.

Protein Supplements

Protein supplements come in powder and liquid form, but powder is more prevalent. They are vital for fulfilling your protein requirements but excessive protein can be bad for your health. You may need protein supplements if you:

  • Exercise intensely
  • Are looking to build muscle mass
  • Are healing from wounds or injury
  • Are trying to lose weight

People usually consume protein supplements in the form of shakes and smoothies or sprinkle them over oats and salads. Don’t forget to discuss your requirements with your nutritionist before including protein supplements in your diet.

Getting More Proteins in Your Diet Naturally

There are quite a few ways to increase your protein intake without relying on meat.

Firstly, include protein-rich fruits and vegetables in your diet along with milk, yogurt, or cheese. Low-fat cottage cheese or ricotta are excellent options. You can enjoy them on toast, with scrambled eggs, mashed potato, or pasta.

Secondly, nuts and seeds are excellent sources of proteins and other valuable nutrients. You can also use nut butters if nuts and seeds are not your thing.

Thirdly, beans and lentils are excellent sources of proteins that you can enjoy boiled or cooked.

Last but not least, eggs are a protein-rich way to start your day or have an evening snack.    

Final Words: Excessive Protein Intake and Deficiency

Excess or deficiency of any nutrient is not good for health. Too much protein can lead to problems like dehydration, fatigue, headache, and intestinal discomfort. Eating a protein-rich diet for a long time can increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases, blood vessel problems, and kidney and liver disorders.

A protein-deficient diet for a long time causes stunted growth, a weak immune system, and hair and skin problems.

Humans need a balanced diet to stay fit and healthy, which consists of minerals, carbohydrates, fats, water, fiber, and vitamins.